...the buzzing finally stopped.
Juliana could think again. They must be finished with the
UpLoading. Brain and body had been totally shorted out by the
process, but now she was in control again. A final wave of
dizziness passed, she shook her head, wiped her eyes, reached
for the booth door.
It wasn't there, or rather, she wasn't in an UpLoad booth at
all. She was somewhere else. Inside a narrow steel cylinder,
still standing on the pedestal, still naked.
"Where am I?"
Then the steel cylinder split into two halves and spread open.
The scene revealed to her was utterly confusing, she recognized
it from her training, but couldn't understand how she had been
brought there. Just seconds ago she was being UpLoaded...
But now she was in the EnActivation Lab aboard the Starship
Zeus, and suddenly she realized what that had to mean.
"...not seconds ago, but light years ago: I'm on the
Another stunning revelation followed automatically: "Therefore
I must be...the ReGen Copy of myself!"
She looked at her hands, they were the same as always, golden
California tan and everything. "This is unbelievable! I look
and feel just like me--I AM me! But my original self must have
remained back on Earth, and I'm obviously...here."
Stunning realizations. She didn't know what to think about
being a copy of herself, then decided, "Okay, so I guess I'm
the lucky one!"
Juliana understood the phenomenon externally, but it was quite
another thing to experience it internally. Even though she had
known that not even a ReGen Copy himself could tell or feel, or
know any difference between himself and the original--there was
no difference. According to the 5 Rickies, they couldn't even
tell themselves apart, and actually they didn't care.
As far as Juliana was concerned, it was She who was the Real
Juliana, even more than the original who had been UpLoaded,
because she was the one who was on the mission. That other
Juliana was the discarded copy, left behind, the empty mold.
Poor Juliana: she really wanted to be on this mission. She must
be 77 years old by now, probably married to some Earth drudge,
living just for her grandchildren now, if she's even alive...
She stepped out of the EnActivation chamber, and into the
future. A white robe was hanging on a hook for her, instead of
the towel she had taken off so many light years ago. There was
a weird feeling about stepping from her life on Earth 57 years
ago, to NOW--as if through a time warp--on this great adventure
to the stars, just as that other Juliana had wished she could.
There were people waiting for her--she knew them all, her
friends, her fellow volunteers on the mission. But she was
looking for Vance.
And there he was: her boyfriend, her man, her mate, the Love of
her Life, waiting to greet her. Everything was going to be
"Vance, are we really there? Procyon 5?"
Vance looked at her with a strange neutral expression. And even
stranger: he looked OLDER than he had just before the UpLoading
today. Juliana looked at the others; Wenda, Calvin, Todo, Old
Man Darwin, Lissa, Cara, Bud...and they were ALL older, 10
years, maybe 20.
Something had happened, but without her. Something not
according to plan, that was obvious. She looked at Vance,
expecting a welcoming embrace, but he was actually avoiding
So was Wenda--My god, they're a couple now! she realized.
Bud, however, was obviously experiencing a very emotional
episode, that's where the loving welcome was happening. Juliana
couldn't miss seeing that, but she couldn't understand it either.
"All right, what's going on, please? Vance?"
"Uh...hi Juliana. Yes, we reached Procyon 5, the mission has
been a success." He pointed behind her.
Juliana turned to see the large deck window looking out into
space: full of stars, a sun, and a great golden planet turning
slowly below. Clouds floated above oceans and continents, it
looked quite Earthlike except for the colors--more yellows and
pinks than blue. In fact, it looked fantastically beautiful.
Juliana's heart almost stopped at the impact of that sight: when
she was UpLoaded no one had any idea if Procyon 5 was livable
or not. Now she could make out bright lights in the shadowy
side away from the star Procyon, had to be colonies, many of
"How long have we...you...been here?"
"Sixteen years. The colonies are well established and things
are going pretty well for us. It's been a lot of hard work, but
Procyon 5 is a great planet, there's just so much down there."
Sixteen Years! She had missed all of the bold brave pioneering
experience she had been so looking forward to. And Vance, her
man, had obviously dumped her for Wenda. She felt a great sense
of betrayal, almost allowed herself to feel anger, but realized
that she didn't have all the information yet. Still, there was
some bitterness in her voice when she asked, "So why wasn't I
EnActivated along with all of you?"
Wenda spoke up. "You were, Juliana."
Juliana frowned. "What went wrong?"
"With your EnActivation, nothing," Vance informed her, "You were
just as you are now, perfectly...well, perfectly beautiful,
really," he admitted.
Others spoke up now, "Yes, oh my god look at you!" "You really
are beautiful, Juliana." "And so young!" Or, "It's
really good to see you again, Juliana!" Some seemed to be
on the verge of tears.
"You and I started out together," Vance went on, "but we broke
up after a couple of years. Sorry, for you that's news, but for
me it was 15 years ago."
"Then...what's happened to me? The last thing I remember is
being UpLoaded at the Procyon Project Lab in California...how
did I lose 16 years?"
But the answer hit her at once: she knew the ReGen Copy process
for what it was; like all digital data, it could generate an
infinite number of copies, that was the whole idea. As many
copies as you want--replacements, for example--but all coming
from those original UpLoads.
"You did live those years," Wenda said, "You have a son and a
Juliana looked at Vance questioningly.
But Bud spoke up instead, "With me, Juliana. William 14, and
Stina 12. You and I have been happily married for 15 of those
years, until 3 months ago..."
"...when I died," Juliana said, with a little voice.
Bud nodded. "Accident, power transmitter shorted out, instant
She didn't know what to feel about that. Offer condolences for
her own death? About any of it, actually.
But now she knew why she was there: "So you've EnActivated me
AGAIN, from the original Procyon Project UpLoadings. Am I
They all nodded.
They looked at each other. Wenda said, "I think Juliana and Bud
should have some time alone." They obviously agreed and left,
except for Bud.
Juliana ignored him and studied the window, that fantastic
overview of Procyon 5. At least she was here, on the mission,
even if it was starting out weird. Bud said nothing, just
"So what's down there? Aliens?" she finally asked, without
looking at Bud.
"Yeah...us. And a fabulous variety of native flora and fauna,
very vital, early development, much as in Earth's Jurassic
"You mean--Dinosaurs?" Juliana asked with youthful excitement.
"Yeahhh...Something like, not exactly those we know from Earth's
prehistory, but similar. They range from cute little things to
gigantic monsters. But no mammals yet--and no intelligent
species to compete against, so Procyon 5 was made to order for
us. A paradise...and a hell, everything's down there."
"I can see mountains down there...deserts...rivers..."
"There's just as much variation as on Earth, the yellow areas
are jungle, the pinks are prairies."
"Looks like there's not as much ocean as Earth," she observed.
"No, but lots of water anyway--rivers, lakes, swamps; and
there's a big ocean on the other side of the planet, you just
can't see it from this orbital position."
"And those lights are colonies?"
"Yes. There are 60 spread out over the planet."
"With a ReGen Copy set of the 60 of us in each of them?"
"More or less. But we move around from colony to colony, so
some places have more examples of someone than another place.
Calvin, for example, likes the desert, so there are 16 Calvin
copies working over at Camp Sahara."
"It's not confusing?"
"Ha ha ha, sure. Lots of entertaining mistakes with wrong
copies of husbands or wives. But we're all pretty relaxed about
that sort of thing here."
"So, did you ever sleep with the wrong Juliana?"
"There is no wrong Juliana," Bud proclaimed.
She let that slide, changed the subject as something occurred to
her. "If we've been here for 16 years, why are we aboard the
"Starship Zeus acts as the colonial space station, for
communication relays, weather and volcanic observation. We
decided early on to keep the ReGen Labs up here in orbit, to
maintain ultimate security and prevent unauthorized misuse of
the copy process."
"Who would misuse it? The 60 were screened for criminal
tendencies, don't you trust everyone?"
"Well, the 60 weren't screened quite as well as they thought.
There are two criminal types who got into the project, Halston
and Bendergas. But now that we know who they are, they're easy
enough to control and contain. Same two guys every time there's
a crime in one of the 60 communities...kind of funny, really.
But they're just thieves and swindlers, neither dangerous nor
"However, the lab was misused at the beginning of the mission.
By someone else, not of our 60 at all, but a technician from
Juliana frowned. In her own perception, she had just been
UpLoaded minutes ago by the tall gaunt technician for whom she
had felt an instinctive dislike. "The one who UpLoaded us back
at the project? I didn't know he was on the mission."
"He wasn't, it seems. But he was already onboard the Zeus
before we were EnActed upon arrival to the Procyon planetary
system. We all took it for granted that he was supposed to be
there...although we did wonder why. Later we found out that
his original had secretly hidden an UpLoad file of himself
among ours before the Zeus was launched, programmed to be
EnActed ahead of the rest of us."
"A stowaway? Why?"
"Because he..." suddenly Bud stopped talking, "...no, never
mind, I don't want to tell that story just now." Juliana got
the feeling that he had remembered something he wasn't supposed
to say specifically to her.
"Too gruesome?" she asked, finally looking Bud in the face.
He shrugged, nodded, but didn't say more about it.
Juliana had never been romantically interested in Bud--oh, as a
friend, sure, he was a nice enough guy, intelligent, casually
handsome. And until a few minutes ago she had been, and still
was of course, totally in love with Vance. Although now Vance
seemed to be married, or whatever. And also too old for her--
the same age as Bud.
"So...Bud, just what are your plans for me?" she asked him.
"We need you," Bud said, "the colony too, of course, but mostly
your family--I need you, and the kids..."
"Kids," Juliana shook her head, "my god, I'm only 21 years old,
and suddenly I've got teenage kids?"
"Yeah, well, sorry, but you'll love them--I know that. They
certainly have loved you. Your death was very hard on them.
Anyway, they're waiting to meet you, and they're pretty nervous
about it...so go easy on them, okay?"
"Me go easy on them? Look, I'm not really even their mother,
you know, that was another Juliana. At best I could be
considered an...an Aunt from out of town!"
"Excuse me, I realize that this has to be a shock for you. And
we thought about whether we really should re-EnActivate you or
not...but I...well, I don't want to live without you!"
"Look, I don't know if I'm ready for this--a husband: some older
man I don't even really know!"
"I'm only 44; we can live to be 130. And you did know me--and
"Yeah, maybe, we'll see. But it won't be AGAIN for me: this is
all new, and not what I was expecting."
"Yeah, but Life's always like that, Juli."
"Seems to me that someone has tampered with what Life's always
"Well, you went along with that when you UpLoaded. We all did."
"Still, I don't understand: why me? why this brand-new 21 year
old Juliana? --there must be at least...59 of me, down in all
those colonies, the right age, experienced, etc."
"But they all have their own lives, their own kids. There
wasn't a Juliana available for us."
"Oh god, what a concept: how many kids do I have?"
"I don't know, doesn't matter, we consider them all as family.
The children are loved by everyone, especially because they're
all from so many combinations of us, and yet different each
and every one."
"So are all of ME married to all of YOU?"
"No. Several, but there's also quite a bit of variation. You
know that was the original idea--spread out the gene pool as
much as possible. We started as 30 men and 30 women of about
the same age, all specially selected genetic stock, mostly
good-looking intelligent people. You remember camp, lots of
sexual exploring--that continued when we got here. Most of us
are compatible with each other anyway."
"Sounds like a general sex orgy," Juliana remarked with a
slightly puritanical tone.
"Well, the Julianas have done all right too, they're generally
healthy and horny women," Bud said, with a knowing little grin.
She accepted that with an inward smile, glad to hear that she
could loosen up if she had the chance. "So who am I coupled to?
I'd sort of like to know."
Bud hesitated, he obviously didn't want to give her any ideas.
Then shrugged, he had to be fair. "Several Ricks..."
"Of the 5 Rickies...?" Juliana squealed, recalling having
watched Lt Rickie's tight butt with desire just before she'd
"Uh...yeah," Bud was somewhat intimidated by her enthusiasm, but
heroically went on, "only there's 60 of him now. They're the
colonial police and rescue force of Procyon 5. A couple of
Calvins, and then a general individual spread throughout the
colonies. There's even one of you with an Old Man Darwin."
"She seems happy enough. You've also had a few temporary
lesbian relationships with..."
"Okay, enough, enough, I don't need to know more just now,"
then changed her mind:
"Are any of me still with a Vance?"
"I don't think so, but I haven't kept track. Maybe."
"What if I insisted on EnActivating a new young Vance, just
"Well, Vance isn't dead...and he wasn't really that good for
"You say. I'd rather have found that out for myself."
"No you wouldn't. You and I were friends before we got married,
you came crying to me about him, time and again, it was a bad
time for you."
"But a good time for you, maybe?"
"Juliana, do you...resent being EnActivated under these
She reflected: actually, she was supposed to be dead, it was a
miracle she existed at all: this particular Juliana self was
a backup, an extra edition, this was a new life--for free! And
adding those 16 years, her original self had to be 93 years old
by now, but here she was, still 21 again, and probably the
youngest beautiful female adult in the colonial world.
"Resent it, are you kidding? Let's see what happens."
Juliana stood on the deck of the Starship Zeus, in orbit above
a golden planet gauzed in a shining atmosphere, washed by alien
seas, roamed by mythic monsters. Perhaps that world was known
to the others, but it was a total fantasyland to her, just
waiting to be explored.
This was what she had volunteered for.
other alternative Fates of Juliana after UpLoading
or go Back to the Origin of